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Retail Roundup: Gym, home goods store to take over part of former Waldbaum's

Planet Fitness and HomeSense will be coming to the shopping center on Nesconset Highway in Stony Brook, and a 17-screen movie theater on the site will be getting updates.

HomeSense and Planet Fitness will be going into

HomeSense and Planet Fitness will be going into part of this former Waldbaum's grocery store, seen on Thursday in Stony Brook. Photo Credit: Newsday/John Paraskevas

Long Island’s gym boom will put its stamp on another former Waldbaum’s supermarket — and will bring some accent pillows along with it.

Planet Fitness and HomeSense, a discount home furnishings store, will be new neighbors in a shopping center on Nesconset Highway in Stony Brook this year, said Joseph Scimone, managing member of Lighthouse Realty Partners LLC, the Valley Stream company that manages the shopping center.

Also, AMC Loews Stony Brook 17, a movie theater that has been on the property since 1998, is getting an $8 million spruce-up, he said.

“They’re going to bring it up to a 21st century theater,” Scimone said. 

The 27,250-square-foot HomeSense and 18,000-square-foot Planet Fitness will share part of a former Waldbaum’s, leaving 12,000 square feet of the space unleased.

Construction work to divide the space at 2162 Nesconset Hwy. is taking place now.

HomeSense is a 21-store chain owned by The TJX Companies Inc. of Framingham, Massachusetts, whose off-price stores also include TJ Maxx, Marshalls and HomeGoods.

The company already has a combination Marshalls/HomeGoods store in the Stony Brook shopping center.

TJX “has a very successful Marshalls there. HomeSense was a natural … expansion of their business,” Scimone said.

TJX declined to comment.

The company’s expansion has included a big push into Long Island as sales at off-price stores have grown, fueled in part by consumer demand for high-quality, sometimes name-brand goods at discount prices.

TJX’s “constantly changing assortment of products, which includes many hidden gems, gives shoppers a reason to visit regularly. In an environment where core customers have more money to spend, this works particularly well, and as a result," both customer traffic and sales have risen, said Neil Saunders, managing director of retail at GlobalData, a Manhattan market research firm.

Over the fiscal year that ended Feb. 2, TJX added 236 stores, for a total of 4,306 locations in the United States, Canada, Europe and Australia, according to its annual earnings report.

TJX introduced its HomeSense concept to Long Island last year, when locations opened in Commack and Riverhead.

Now, the company has at least three new stores slated for Long Island, including a TJ Maxx opening in the spring in Port Washington North and a Marshalls planned for Bridgehampton Commons in 2020.

Last year, in addition to the two HomeSense stores that opened on Long Island, TJX opened four other local stores: Marshalls and HomeGoods in the Riverhead shopping center that has a HomeSense; a TJ Maxx in Medford; and a HomeGoods in Melville.

Fast-growing, no-frills gym chain Planet Fitness, which has 1,742 gyms, entered the Long Island market with a Hampton Bays location in 2006.

“We anticipate the Stony Brook location to open by the end of the year. We’re excited to be expanding our presence in Long Island, where we have 17 existing locations,” said Becky Zirlen, spokeswoman for the Hampton, New Hampshire-based gym chain.

AMC’s renovations in its Stony Brook multiplex will include new stadium seating, a new projection window and other upgrades in the theater located at 2196 Nesconset Hwy., according to the Brookhaven Town building department.

The work is scheduled to begin in the fall, said Ryan Noonan, spokesman for Leawood, Kansas-based AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc.

"We’ll have more information about what guests can expect at that time," he said. (AMC also plans to open a new Long Island theater this year on part of a former Sears site in East Northport.)

The Stony Brook shopping center is a 276,773-square-foot property whose other tenants include off-price department store Burlington, European Wax Center and other small shops. A free-standing Red Lobster also is in the shopping center, but it is a separately owned parcel.

The Replacements

The Waldbaum’s had been in the Stony Brook shopping center since 1995, Scimone said.

It was one of 51 Long Island grocery stores, some of which were Pathmark supermarkets, that closed after their parent company, Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. in New Jersey, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2015.

As shopping center landlords contend with growing store vacancies in the so-called “retail apocalypse,” many are looking for replacement tenants less susceptible to online retail competition — like gyms.

I’ve already reported that a 24 Hour Fitness is set to take over part of a former Waldbaum’s in East Setauket late this year and Planet Fitness took over part of a former Waldbaum’s in Greenlawn in November.

Retail Roundup is a column about major retail news on Long Island — store openings, closings, expansions, acquisitions, etc. — that is published online and in the Monday paper. To read more of these columns, click here. If you have news to share, please send an email to Newsday reporter Tory N. Parrish at tory.parrish@newsday.com.

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